Freezerent teams up with trusted suppliers to develop first refrigerated Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

Freezerent teams up with trusted suppliers to develop first refrigerated Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

Customers of temperature-controlled vehicle hire and leasing specialist Freezerent can now choose one of the first refrigerated versions of the fully electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinter van.

Available on a ‘spot’ rental or longer-term contract hire basis, the eye-catching vehicle is the result of a partnership between Wolverhampton-based Freezerent and Mercedes-Benz Dealer Midlands Truck & Van. The refrigerated conversion was carried out by Solomon Commercials, while the fridge unit and evaporator are by GAH.

Developed in response to demand from Freezerent customers, the temperature-controlled eSprinter is aimed at operators undertaking multi-drop delivery work in cities, more of which are now following London by introducing their own emissions zones.

Launched last autumn, the 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz eSprinter has brought a welcome injection of premium quality, practicality, driver appeal, and safety to the segment for large, zero-emission vans.

It is powered by an electric motor that produces 114 hp and 295 Nm of torque, and drives the front wheels. Research by Mercedes-Benz confirms that at 96 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) the eSprinter’s range is ample for the majority of last mile and urban delivery applications.

The 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space. Indeed, the eSprinter’s load volume capacity is key to its appeal. Available in a single size – L2 (medium) length, H2 (high) roof – the standard vehicle offers a load volume of 11m3, which is identical to its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive L2 H2 stablemate, and half a cubic metre more than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.

The latest addition to the Freezerent fleet has a single compartment and is designed to operate as a chiller. The fully electric GAH SRF271e refrigeration unit is powered by independent lithium ion batteries, which means it does not impact the vehicle’s range. These batteries are neatly stored behind a chequer plate-protected panel in the bulkhead fitted by Solomon Commercials, so the cargo area available for product is only very marginally reduced.

Payload is compromised by the weight of the additional batteries, as well as the insulation, fridge and evaporator, but the vehicle still offers a very practical allowance of around 500 kg. As Freezerent Managing Director Lee Dorward explained: “There are plenty of environmentally focused operators out there for whom load volume, rather than carrying capacity, is the key requirement in a temperature-controlled delivery vehicle.

“Clearly, this emissions-free technology is still in its infancy, and I’ve no doubt that over time we’ll see payloads and ranges increase as batteries become lighter and more efficient. Nevertheless, customers are asking about what’s available right now, so we felt it was only appropriate that we should draw on the experience of leading suppliers and give them an opportunity to try one of the very first refrigerated eSprinters.”

The decision to base its first electric van on a Mercedes-Benz was an obvious one for Freezerent, which offers temperature-controlled vehicles on flexible short-, medium- and long-term contracts.

Established by Mr Dorward in 2005, the company has since purchased almost 500 Sprinters. Today, the multi-award-winning model accounts for all but a small handful of the vehicles on its 250-strong fleet – it also has another 100 currently on order from Midlands Truck & Van, a Dealer with which it has been working since day one.

Underlining its commitment to the latest technology, Freezerent relies heavily on the latest Sprinter’s intelligently connected Mercedes PRO connect system, which provides operators with access to a wide range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services that contribute to improved efficiency, productivity, safety and security.

In the eSprinter, PRO connect can remotely monitor battery status and provide fleet managers with real-time updates, enabling them encourage drivers to adopt a more range-conscious style at the wheel, while also helping them to plan charge stops and minimise downtime.

“PRO connect is brilliant, a great addition to the range,” enthused Mr Dorward. “It allows us proactively to manage maintenance issues and was also instrumental in helping the police to track down three vehicles at different locations in London within a couple of hours of them being reported as stolen.”

He added: “This has been a very exciting project, one that establishes a foothold for Freezerent in a segment that’s bound to grow dramatically over the next few years, while also underscoring our position as a leading provider of advanced, temperature-controlled transport solutions.”

Midlands Truck & Van has taken a share of the risk on the new electric van in the form of a highly attractive lease agreement. Its Fleet Sales Manager Joe Lynock commented: “Freezerent is a loyal and highly valued customer, so we were only too happy to lend our backing to Lee’s initiative. The new vehicle looks fantastic and proves that for the right operator a fully electric, refrigerated van is now a viable and potentially very attractive proposition.”







Working in partnership: Freezerent Managing Director Lee Dorward, right, and Operations Director Lee Hampson, centre, are pictured with Joe Lynock of Midlands Truck & Van

On a charge: Freezerent’s Lee Dorward, pictured with Joe Lynock, of Midlands Truck & Van, has high hopes for his company’s new, refrigerated eSprinter

Playing their parts: Solomon Commercials Sales Manager Matthew Jones, right, and his counterpart at GAH Refrigeration Martin Mothershaw


WH Barley fields 10 new MirrorCam-equipped Mercedes-Benz Actros from Intercounty Truck & Van

WH Barley fields 10 new MirrorCam-equipped Mercedes-Benz Actros from Intercounty Truck & Van

Reliable, cost-effective performance from its previous Mercedes-Benz Actros, coupled with a persuasive sales pitch from the local Dealer, were instrumental in convincing Milton Keynes-based WH Barley to grow its fleet by ordering another 10 tractor units bearing the three-pointed star.

Intercounty Truck & Van delivered the trucks on 1 March. All are Actros 2545 variants with aerodynamic StreamSpace cabs and 12.8-litre, in-line six-cylinder engines that produce 330 kW (450 hp). The subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement, they will be inspected and maintained at the Dealer’s Milton Keynes workshop.

WH Barley’s new tractor units are already hard at work for clients from the retail, wholesale and health sectors, hauling a variety of goods in curtainsided and refrigerated box trailers. Double-shifted, and running seven days per week, they will be expected to stand up to heavy use and high mileages without complaint.

The Palletline member’s fleet of more than 70 tractor units and rigid trucks includes another 16 vehicles by Mercedes-Benz. The new Actros, though, are it’s first since 2018.

They came equipped as standard with innovative MirrorCam technology, which replaces conventional mirrors with rear-facing cameras that relay their images to screens mounted inside the cab, on the A-pillars. As well as enhancing safety by providing much-enhanced all-round visibility, the system cuts diesel costs by an estimated 1.5% because the cameras’ compact, streamlined housings create far less wind resistance.

The latest, enhanced version of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ well proven Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) system also contributes to fuel efficiency, while WH Barley’s drivers benefit from Multimedia Cockpit, interactive. The optionally upgraded version of Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ radical, high-tech dashboard comes with a larger, 12in instrument panel and additional functionality.

Standard safety equipment includes a potential life saver in the form of Active Brake Assist 5, the emergency braking system that now employs cameras in addition to radar. At speeds of up to 50 kph, Active Brake Assist 5 can apply full braking automatically when encountering pedestrians crossing its path.

WH Barley Director Emma Barber-Collins, whose father Peter Barber established the family business in 1970, said: “We’ve been running a pair of Actros tractor units for the last three years, and they’ve been exceptionally reliable, economical and popular with our drivers. We also enjoy a very good relationship with the service team at Intercounty Truck & Van’s local dealership, who have kept the trucks running smoothly, with minimal downtime.”

She continued: “Other manufacturers have raised their games too, though, so this latest order was definitely ‘up for grabs’. The fact that we’ve chosen to put our faith in Mercedes-Benz is largely down to the very impressive presentation and attentive, professional customer service of Intercounty’s Truck Sales Executive Amit Verma and his colleagues, as well as the attractive contract hire rates.”

WH Barley has high hopes for its new trucks’ ground-breaking technology. “Fuel efficiency is crucial,” said Ms Barber-Collins. “While our established Actros deliver excellent returns, we’re looking forward to seeing the additional contributions that MirrorCam and enhanced Predictive Powertrain Control can make toward reducing running costs.

“The camera housings give the trucks a clean, modern appearance too, and I’ve no doubt that equipment of this kind will become the norm before very long. We’ll also be gauging how much it helps our drivers in their day-to-day work, but the initial feedback has been very encouraging.”

WH Barley offers a range full-load, groupage and time-critical delivery services across the UK and beyond. It also boasts 100,000 sq ft of secure warehousing on its five-acre site at Old Wolverton.

Peter Barber is a former Chairman of the Road Haulage Association, while more recently Ms Barber-Collins has followed in her father’s footsteps by joining its Board of Directors. WH Barley is also a member of The Transport Association.

Family values: WH Barley Directors Peter Barber and Emma Barber-Collins



Robert Willoughby, Aftersales Manager at HTC Croydon, wrote to us this week regarding two of his colleagues, who went above and beyond to help a customer in need:

‘Piotr Syrek, our DAFaid Technician, had a normal start to his
day, with a couple of non-starts as his first jobs. T hen he got a
call from DAFaid, to attend four vehicles at a customer’s depot in
Wimbledon, who had received a contaminated fuel delivery from
their supplier.

Piotr swiftly got them back on the road without too much fuss,
then after a busy morning, I took a call from one of our larger
customers in the area, who explained that they had the same
problem. To compound the pressure we already had a couple
more jobs stacked up.

It was late in the afternoon, the vehicles were fully fuelled with contaminated fuel and the customer needed them
all back on the road early the next morning.
We quickly organised some help for Piotr; our 3rd year apprentice, Nathan Alexis. Nathan was happy to help, even
though he had been in since 6am. T hey both worked through to the early hours of the morning, to make sure all the eight contaminated vehicles were ready for work the next day.

Please see below, a thank you message from the customer. What a fine example of the OAF Difference.’

‘Could you please pass on our thanks to your team last night. I understand they worked late into the night to get
everything sorted and that really helped to prevent a disaster here. Without your help and quick response it could
have been a lot worse for us, as we were at severe risk of failing operationally.’
Richard Carter, Senior Logistics Supervisor and Route Planner at Elis


Customer support drives DAF Trucks to record 32% market share in 2020

  • DAF Trucks continues dominance of truck market above 6.0-tonnes for 26th year
  • Network-wide DAF Service & Parts response delivers high KPIs during coronavirus pandemic
  • DAFaid handles 82,500 calls with 80% of jobs fixed at roadside within 90-minutes
  • PACCAR Financial rewrites 5,000 funding contracts to support customers
  • “Our commitment to customers, our sense of duty during the pandemic, and our willingness to adapt have ensured we remain the UK’s truck manufacturer of choice…” Managing Director, Laurence Drake

DAF Trucks has attributed outstanding Service & Parts support from its dealer network to the company’s latest record 32% market share above 6.0-tonnes GVW in 2020, registering more than twice as many trucks against its nearest competitor. SMMT figures announced this week also show DAF Trucks having achieved a record 31.6% share of the Heavy truck market above 16-tonnes GVW. 

10,545 DAF registrations last year – in a total market of 32,918 – is down on 2019’s record breaking 14,814 vehicle registrations for the market leader, with the total market falling by around 15,500 primarily as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The figures mean DAF Trucks continues its impressive dominance of the UK truck market for an uninterrupted 26th year, with the built in Britain brand now accounting for almost one-in-three truck registrations over the past 24-months.

There was also notable success in the Republic of Ireland where DAF achieved 19.8% share above 6.0 tonnes, up from 18.3% in 2019, taking DAF to third place in the market. DAF achieved a 21.3% share of the market 16.0-tonnes GVW and above, and 12% in the 6-to-16.0-tonnes GVW segment.

Set against the backdrop of last year’s public health emergency, DAF Trucks cites its response to operators’ demands via the DAF Dealer network and its aftersales portfolio as instrumental to its ongoing market-leading performance. “Our commitment to customers, our sense of duty during the pandemic, and our willingness to adapt have ensured we remain the UK’s truck manufacturer of choice for so many operators,” said DAF Trucks Managing Director, Laurence Drake, “The latest registration figures are pleasing, naturally, but they tell only half the story of the way in which the DAF family rallied together to ensure our 135 DAF Dealers remained fully operational during 2020.”

Customer support drives DAF Trucks to record 32% market share in 2020
Laurence Drake – Managing Director, DAF Trucks

Performance by DAFaid, the industry benchmark roadside recovery service from DAF Trucks, was arguably the company’s most impressive achievement in 2020. DAFaid handled 82,500 calls, attended almost 66,000 roadside issues, fixing 80% of these within 90-minutes of the initial call. It is notable that even during the first lockdown no jobs were refused. Meanwhile, the DAF Dealer network carried out 26,000 MOTs for customers, achieving a first-time-pass-rate just short of 98%.

PACCAR Financial, DAF Trucks in-house vehicle finance division, also went the extra mile in 2020 in support of operators suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the financial strength of the organisation, PACCAR Financial was able to restructure over 5,000 contracts to ensure operators retained their assets and fulfil their own commitments to customers. PACCAR Financial also arranged funding on over 30% of all new DAF vehicle sales in 2020.

DAF Trucks supports a portfolio of 18,850 repair and maintenance contracts with over 4,500 new DAF MultiSupport contracts arranged in 2020. Customers were supported through the financial impact of the pandemic with revised or suspended payment terms for over 2,800 vehicles

Customer support drives DAF Trucks to record 32% market share in 2020

The PACCAR Parts operation, comprising DAF Genuine and TRP all-makes truck and trailer brands, also performed exceptionally well, delivering results approaching 2019 levels, with the DAF Dealer network maintaining its market-leading first-time-pick-rate of almost 94%.

DAF Trucks’ substantial training output received particular focus in 2020 and, despite the pandemic, all DAF Technician training switched to virtual classroom training to ensure the DAF Dealer network maintains its benchmark levels of skill and competence. DAF Trucks is on track to recruit a further 84 apprentice technicians for the renowned DAF Apprentice Programme based at the DAF Apprentice College in Bristol.


Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance Refurbish Strathroy Tankers

Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance

One of the most recent projects completed for Rockmount Vehicle is a batch of Strathroy Tankers. 

Works carried out:

Full new chassis was fitted, new axels, new wiring, and air piping.  Usually, the barrel is perfect but it is the running gear that wears over the years. 

Repairing rather than replacing these tankers has huge cost benefits to Strathroy Tankers and the workmanship from  Rockmount Vehicle Maintenance is second to none.

Want to know more information?

Contact Paul McCord on 07717694888

or email


Award-winning City Plumbing taps into Bevan Group build quality for new Luton van fleet

A consultative design process between customer, bodybuilder and dealer ensured that the latest vehicles are perfectly specified for their role. Bevan’s relatively high bodies have low floors and, crucially, the 2.4-metre rear apertures needed for loading and unloading pre-plumbed hot water cylinders, which cannot be laid down or tilted during transportation.


Wellingborough dealer Intercounty Truck & Van supplied heavy-duty Sprinter chassis cabs that meet Euro VI emissions regulations, rather than Euro 6 versions on which the requisite height would not have been permissible.


Eye-catching in City Plumbing’s first full vinyl wrap liveries, which were applied by Elliott Signs, of Castle Donington, the Sprinter 314 CDIs are powered by fuel-efficient 2.1-litre engines that produce 143hp and 330 Nm of torque.


All are rear-wheel drive long L3 variants, with the sole exception of a medium-length L2 with front-wheel drive, which is now working from City Plumbing’s depot in Oban, on Scotland’s west coast. As this vehicle is less than 6.0 metres long deliveries to the islands of The Hebrides are economically viable, because the ferry operator charges for crossings at the light goods vehicle rate; if it exceeded this length the much higher commercial vehicle rate would apply.  


Craig Kenyon recalled: “Sales Director Roy Shelton and his colleagues were confident they would get our builds so they saved us some production slots, and the vehicles were ready when we needed them. The fact that this was achieved against the backdrop of the pandemic reflects the quality of the relationships between our two companies.”


Key to the heating and plumbing specialist’s decision to place its order for 51 bespoke Luton bodies with Bevan Group, was the well proven durability of the manufacturer’s products, as well as its market-leading five-year warranty and competitive pricing.


True to form, the latest aerodynamically profiled additions to the City Plumbing fleet are based on 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van. The same model accounts for the overwhelming majority of its 500-plus Lutons and panel vans.


Part of the Travis Perkins Group, City Plumbing won the prestigious Motor Transport Fleet Van Operator of the Year trophy in 2019. It operates from headquarters in Northampton and a network of more than 350 branches throughout the UK, which serve the trade and DIY markets with a comprehensive product range that includes everything from boilers and copper tubing, to bathroom suites, towel rails and electrical parts, all by top brand names.  


The new vehicles are working from locations nationwide, and make the majority of deliveries directly to residential locations at which plumbers, heating engineers, bathroom fitters and other tradespeople are working.


Although it has been a valued customer of the West Midlands-based Bevan Group in the past, for the last four years City Plumbing has purchased its Luton bodies from another company. Fleet Operations Interface Manager Craig Kenyon made the decision to turn back the clock and entrust the reigning Commercial Motor Bodybuilder of the Year with its latest order. 


He explained: “We depreciate our vehicles over seven years, so we need a body that can withstand rigorous use over that entire lifespan. We still have Lutons on the fleet that left the Bevan Group factory 10 years ago and look great to this day.”


Mr Kenyon continued: “Bevan’s five year-warranty represents a commitment that we value highly. It’s reassuring to know that the manufacturer is prepared to stand by its products and processes to such an extent.”


City Plumbing also relies on Bevan Group’s Aftercare Response division to provide planned and round-the-clock emergency back-up for all of its vehicle bodies, as well as ancillary equipment such as tail-lifts – the new Lutons are equipped with 500kg Dhollandia column lifts, with integral safety rails.


Winning formula: Craig Kenyon is pictured with one of City Plumbing’s new Sprinter Lutons and the Motor Transport Fleet Van Operator of the Year 2019 trophy 








Midlands Truck & Van’s £7m Birmingham dealership wins an enthusiastic reception from customers

Early visitors have hailed the modern, efficient facilities and ample space for vehicle parking at the state-of-the-art branch in Birmingham opened by Mercedes-Benz Dealer Midlands Truck & Van.

A far cry from the traditional truck and van outlet, the £7-million development on Cornwall Road, Smethwick, welcomed its first customers last month (December). Managing Director Steve Hunt declared: “This project has underlined our commitment to keeping businesses moving. We’re very proud of our new dealership, which is right up there with the best in the industry.”

Formerly the site of a steelworks, and then a plastics factory, the new build features an open plan reception area designed and furnished in line with the latest Mercedes-Benz corporate standards. The seven-acre plot offers plenty of space for displaying new and pre-owned vehicles, and – crucially – for customers to manoeuvre and park their own trucks and vans.

“We’ve already received a lot of positive feedback on the amount of room we have here, as well as on our excellent location close to the M5 and M6 motorways,” continued Steve. “This substantial investment reflects the ever-increasing demand from operators of Mercedes-Benz and FUSO trucks, and Mercedes-Benz Vans. We now look forward to surpassing their expectations in terms of the quality of our service.”

Midlands Truck & Van is the first member of the manufacturer’s commercial vehicle network to introduce a new customer experience concept which is already in operation at a number of Mercedes-Benz car outlets. Visitors to the site are greeted by dedicated hosts, then introduced to other members of the team with whom they can discuss anything from a sales enquiry to a service booking in stylish, relaxed and comfortable surroundings.

The drive-through workshop incorporates an Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) on which inspectors from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will undertake truck MOT tests. There is also an ADR bay allocated to work on fuel tankers and related specialist equipment for transporting hazardous loads, and another for the installation and calibration of tachographs.

A further 11 truck bays – each, at 24 metres, comfortably long enough to accommodate an articulated tractor unit and semi-trailer combination – and eight van bays are available for routine maintenance and repairs. Midlands Truck & Van’s own technicians carry out MOT tests on light commercial vehicles in the Class 4, 5 and 7 categories, at times – night or day – best suited to customers. 

At 650 square metres the new Parts department offers a 25% increase on the shelf space available at Midlands Truck & Van’s previous branch in Saltley. This allows it to carry correspondingly wider and deeper stocks of the factory-approved spares it needs to keep vehicles out on the road and earning for their owners.

Impressed customers include Neil Davies, who works out of the Hams Hall rail freight terminal and brought his Actros tractor unit in to get a faulty bulb spring replaced. “It was an easy job, all sorted in 15 minutes,” he reported. “I’d have been held up a lot longer at the Dealer’s old site, though, simply because they were so short of space and it was invariably rammed. The fact that we now have plenty of room in which to turn around makes life so much easier for a driver like me.”

His comments were echoed by Mohammed Abid Shan, who was being collected by a colleague after dropping off his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for routine maintenance. “This new Dealership looks brilliant,” he enthused, “a massive improvement on the old place, where it was always a bit awkward getting in and out.”

Steve Bartosik, of Service Tech, was at the Parts desk in the airy reception area. “What a really nice environment,” he commented. “There’s no comparison between this and the Dealer’s former premises.”

The Smethwick opening marks the completion of a major programme of investment in its branch network by Midlands Truck & Van, one of two Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle franchisees owned by Northern Ireland’s Ballyvesey Holdings Group.

It recently spent £3 million on acquiring and transforming the former Mercedes-Benz car outlet in Whitley, Coventry, into one of the country’s biggest Mercedes-Benz van showrooms. The Dealer’s former commercial vehicle centre next door is now a truck-dedicated facility.

Midlands Truck & Van’s purpose-built branch, in Willenhall, Wolverhampton, is also still relatively new, having opened at the end of 2015 at a cost of £4 million.

Front-runner: Managing Director Steve Hunt says Midlands Truck & Van looks forward to surpassing customer expectations at its new Birmingham branch
Advantage Actros: Group Truck Sales Manager Simon Russell is pictured with one of Midlands Truck & Van’s stunning Actros Edition 1 demonstration units
Room to manoeuvre: Neil Davies says that with so much space the new facility makes life a lot easier for he and his fellow truck drivers

Central England Co-op switches on to zero-emission Mercedes-Benz eVito for home delivery trials

Date: 7 January 2021

Central England Co-op switches on to zero-emission Mercedes-Benz eVito for home delivery trials

Customers of Central England Co-op are now receiving eco-friendly doorstep deliveries of food and essentials from a fleet of eight fully electric Mercedes-Benz vans.

The retailer is trialling its new services after linking up with two online shopping platforms, Appy Shop and Snappy Shopper. Using their apps, shoppers can choose items which are picked and packed at local Central England Co-op stores. They are then delivered in mid-sized eVito PURE models supplied by Dealer Midlands Truck & Van.

Like its larger eSprinter stablemate, the eVito produces zero tailpipe emissions and allows businesses to meet their carbon-reduction targets without having to compromise on practicality or performance. Central England Co-op has underlined its commitment to the environment by also eliminating the use of plastic bags for home deliveries.

Charging points have been installed at participating stores. The Appy Shop trial is operating from selected outlets in Norfolk, Leicestershire and Staffordshire, and allows customers to select a timed delivery slot. The Snappy Shopper initiative, which commits to deliver within the hour, is focused on Birmingham and Derby.

The vans are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement – the attractive rates incorporate a grant contribution from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). Mercedes-Benz Vans and its Dealer have held training sessions in Birmingham and Derby to ensure the retailer’s drivers achieve the very best performance and efficiency from their electric vans.

The eVito’s 41 kWh battery is securely mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, which means it does not impinge on the 6.0m3 of cargo area offered by Central England Co-op’s long L2 variants. Given that deliveries are relatively local, the vehicle’s range of approximately 93 miles is ample. So, too, is its 923 kg payload allowance.

The eVito PURE also comes in extra-long L3 form, with a 6.6m3 load volume and 898 kg carrying capacity. Meanwhile, eVito versions with the PROGRESSIVE trimline benefit from extra features, both internally and externally, but incur corresponding slight payload reductions.

Jamie Joyce manages Central England Co-op’s flagship Boley Park Food Store in Lichfield, which has just undergone a £3-million transformation. “Recent times have highlighted the benefits of being able to shop local with a trusted, community-focused retailer,” he said.

“We are proud to be one of the main hubs hosting this exciting home delivery trial, which provides shoppers with quick and convenient access to food and vital essentials from their local Central England Co-op store.”

While all prices are the same as those in-store, there is a minimum order value of £15 and a £3 charge for delivery, which is being waived for first-time orders.

Central England Co-op Transport Manager Gary Tomlinson explained: “The impact of our operations on the environment sits at the heart of every decision we make, which is why the eco-credentials of the vehicles we were going to use to launch these two new services had to be front and centre. The eVito’s zero emissions driveline is a key selling point for both services and is heavily promoted in all of our marketing activities, as well as on the vans themselves.”

He continued: “We researched the environmentally-friendly vehicle market thoroughly before concluding that the eVito represented the best fit for our business. It is perfectly sized for our requirements, and the sliding load doors on both sides are a definite advantage when loading and making deliveries.”

The eVito’s electric motor produces 114 hp and drives the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is instantaneous, while top speed is restricted as standard to 50 mph (80 km/h), although this can be increased on request. The steering wheel-mounted selectors allow drivers to choose between C, E and E+ (Comfort, Eco and Extended range) settings.

“The feedback from colleagues who are using these vehicles every day has been entirely positive. They appreciate the eVito’s quietness and comfort, as well as its all-round driveability.”

He added: “From our initial enquiry through to delivery and driver training, the support we’ve received has been brilliant. Midlands Truck & Van Fleet Sales Managers Erica Stredwick and Natasha Ho have done all we could have asked, and the same is true of Strategic Account Manager Kirsty McKinnon and Head of Fleet Andy Eccles at Mercedes-Benz Vans.”

One of the UK’s largest independent retail co-operative societies, Central England Co-op has interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment. It trades from more than 430 outlets across 16 counties and takes pride from its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

Super-charged: Jamie Joyce, the Manager of Central England Co-op’s Boley Park Food Store in Lichfield is excited about the new home delivery service


‘Like minds’ combine to put three more Mercedes-Benz Econics on the roads of North Warwickshire

Municipal vehicle specialist CP Davidson & Sons (CPD) has delivered its first trucks to North Warwickshire Borough Council. What’s not new, though, is the choice of chassis – all three are Mercedes-Benz Econics supplied by Midlands Truck & Van.

Of the 16 trucks the local authority uses to collect domestic and trade waste, 12 are 26-tonne Econics. Its Waste & Transport Manager John Rhodes enthused: “My preference is definitely for the Mercedes-Benz. It offers proven reliability and performance, and leads the field in terms of safety. The aftersales support is first class as well.”

Prime contractor CPD, meanwhile, is a Qualified Partner of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, and the overwhelming majority of the refuse collection vehicles that leave its factory in Chorley, Lancashire, are based on the manufacturer’s low-entry chassis. “We know the Econic inside out, and would always recommend it,” said Operations Director Robert Davidson.

As 2627L models North Warwickshire’s new trucks employ 7.7-litre six-cylinder engines that transmit their 200 kW (272 hp) outputs to the road via six-speed Allison automatic gearboxes purpose-designed for stop-start applications. Rear-steer axles make the job easier for drivers by significantly reducing turning circles.

Fitted with Terberg split bin lifts, CPD’s 19m3 capacity Titan XLS bodies offer class-leading payloads, 14-second compaction cycles, and – with only 890rpm required from the engine – fuel savings worth up to 15%. At 75dB(A) they are exceptionally quiet too, while short rear overhangs also contribute to manoeuvrability.

The smoothly curved sides of the truck bodies carry messages exhorting the residents of towns such as Atherstone, Coleshill and Polesworth, as well as the former mining villages and rural areas that make up the borough, to protect themselves and others by observing pandemic protocols. Hand sanitisers have also been installed in the cabs, for use by crews during their rounds.

North Warwickshire Borough Council conducted a comprehensive tender process before awarding the contract for the three new trucks. Mr Rhodes recalled: “CPD’s was the standout bid, achieving top scores. The bodybuilder provided us with a demonstration unit for trial and hosted us on a tour of its production facility prior to the onset of Covid-19. Robert Davidson and his team could not have done more.”

The new trucks have bus-style nearside doors which are glazed to full height. This feature, combined with the vehicle’s deep, wraparound windscreen, and a low seating position that allows drivers to make direct eye contact with vulnerable road users at junctions, has earned the Econic a top, five-star Direct Vision rating from Transport for London.

The specification also includes Active Brake Assist 4 emergency braking technology. Programmed to recognise other vehicles at higher speeds, as well as pedestrians when moving more slowly, and is capable of bringing the truck to a complete stop.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ Blind Spot Camera System comprises a seven-inch monitor, two cameras on the exterior mirrors, and others facing front and rear, and Sideguard Assist supports the driver when making left turns and changing lanes in busy environments where visibility may be restricted. Two short-range radar sensors mounted on the passenger side of the vehicle monitor up to a lane’s width, and deliver optical and acoustic warnings which alert the driver to the presence of cyclists, pedestrians or other vehicles.

“We’ve not needed to go elsewhere for safety features, thanks to the impressive list of standard equipment and options provided by Mercedes-Benz,” continued John Rhodes. “Given our Duty of Care, it’s reassuring to know that the vehicles we’re sending out each day are so well equipped to protect not only the colleagues who use them, but also other road users.

“As for the crews themselves, they love their Econics. Apart from providing excellent visibility, the cab is air-conditioned and roomy with lots of storage space, while the fact that it employs full air suspension means the ride is smooth and comfortable.”

North Warwickshire maintains the fleet in its own workshop but relies on Midlands Truck & Van for warranty and technical support, and parts deliveries. “The Dealer is very good; I can’t fault its back-up,” added Mr Rhodes. 

“We run our Econics for seven years and experience has proved that they’re built to stand this test of time. In the past, it’s always been the bodies that have started to fail before the chassis, so we’re looking forward to seeing how these new CPD Titan compactors perform over the lives of the vehicles.”


West Pennine Trucks Telford depot finishes first in the 2019 Scania Depot of the Year competition


West Pennine Trucks Telford depot finishes first in the 2019 Scania Depot of the Year competition.

The Scania Depot of the Year competition focuses on rewarding the most customer focused depots by ranking them on their performance against a number of customer service driven metrics.

Telford performed fantastically, finishing the year with a 100% MOT pass rate, scoring a very impressive 99% on mystery shops and delivering above and beyond in a number of other areas.

Mark Davis, depot manager said, “I was over the moon when I found out we’d won. Over the past few years we’ve been working hard as a team to make sure we deliver the best possible aftersales support to our customers. Everyone played their part and we’re all really proud of what we’ve achieved.”

It is the first time Telford depot has won the coveted Scania award in a competition which West Pennine Trucks has recent success.

Steve Howard, Managing Director said, “Mark and the team have done a tremendous job in continually improving the depot and delivering unrivalled support to our customers across Telford and Shropshire. As a business we put the customer first and Telford epitomises that.

Howard continues, “Telford is our second depot to win Depot of the Year in the past 5 years and we’re continuing to adapt and introduce ways to make sure that if you bring your Scania into one of our six sites, you get the service your business deserves.”


News from Midlands Truck & Van – Utilities contractor Clancy Group pipes in a new fleet of Mercedes-Benz Vans

Date: 16 September 2020

Brand associations: Clancy Group’s Mercedes-Benz Sprinters wear the liveries of high-profile businesses for which the leading contractor works

Utilities contractor Clancy Group pipes in a new fleet of Mercedes-Benz Vans

Leading Utilities Contractor Clancy Group has entrusted Mercedes-Benz Dealer Midlands Truck & Van with a landmark order for more than 500 light commercial vehicles, which are now supporting some of the country’s biggest and best-known service providers.

Most are Sprinter models with ground-breaking Mercedes PRO connect technology, which the operator is confidently predicting will deliver “a step change” in its fleet management capability.

Clancy Group switched to the three-pointed star just over four years ago and has not looked back since. “Our Mercedes-Benz vans have proved to be far more reliable than those we’d operated previously,” explained Head of Clancy Plant David Janes.

“That’s a key quality in this industry – we need our vehicles to be out there and working, so the fact that they are hardly ever off the road for anything other than routine maintenance is crucial. They’ve also been impressively cost-effective to operate, across a tough working regime in which each averages around 30,000 miles per year.”

Mercedes PRO connect uses 4G Internet technology to provide operators with access to a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective fleet management service packages.

Mr Janes added: “We see great potential in the way PRO connect can help us by collecting a raft of highly detailed information on the way our vehicles are working. These are early days, and we’re only just beginning to explore the ways in which we can best use the system, but we believe it will enable a significant improvement in the way we manage our
Mercedes-Benz van fleet.”

He continued: “The final piece of the jigsaw is the relationship. We receive excellent back-up from the manufacturer and its Dealer. Over the last four years Midlands Truck & Van’s Account Manager Erica Stredwick has developed a highly detailed understanding of our operation, and of our specific requirements.

“Having a dedicated Account Manager proves to us the commitment of our supply chain; we are assured there is always someone there who knows our business as well as we do, who thinks the way we do, and can make things happen when needed.

“We can place an order and not need to worry about it, because Erica is there in the background, seamlessly arranging conversions and the fitment of additional equipment, as well as the application of customer-specific liveries. We also benefitted from a visit by the Dealer’s Connectivity Specialist Michael Carolan, who was able to give us a detailed explanation of the various ways in which PRO connect can help in our day-to-day operations. That kind of service is priceless.”

The vehicles are operated by Clancy Plant, and are now hard at work on contracts held by other Group divisions, whose customers include many of the UK’s leading utility providers. They wear several different liveries, some of which bear the names and logos of the businesses Clancy Group supports.

The 553 units delivered this year include examples from across the entire Mercedes-Benz Vans range. The majority – 445 in total – are 3.5-tonne Sprinter 316 CDI panel vans and chassis cabs, the latter being fitted with tipping or dropside bodies, or access platforms. Midlands Truck & Van has also delivered 84 mid-sized Vito vans, 20 smaller Citans, and four X-Class pickups.

Most of the Sprinter panel vans were specified with 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmissions, to make life easier for drivers working in urban environments. They are equipped with compressors and generators by On-Board Power, of Liversedge, West Yorkshire.

“Typically, these vans transport the teams who dig holes in the road, together with all their tools and equipment, which frequently includes excavators towed on trailers,” explained Mr Janes. “Others are kitted out as rapid response vehicles – if a burst water main is reported, for example, specialist teams have to react to the call-out within two hours.”

He continued: “The Vito vans carry out similar tasks to the Sprinters, but are deployed at  locations which are better suited to a more compact vehicle, while the Citans and X-Class pickups are allocated to roles such as leak detection and meter fitting, or to supervisors.”

“Although these vans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they share the same attributes of outstanding build quality, reliability, economy, comfort and impressive safety specifications, as well as first-class aftersales support. Whichever way you look at it, Mercedes-Benz vehicles are far better than any we’ve operated in the past.”

Multi-award-winning Clancy Group is one of the largest privately-owned construction firms in the UK. Established in 1958, the company now provides employment for more than 2,500 colleagues, who provide infrastructure and related services to customers the length and breadth of the UK.

Home strip: Some of Clancy’s Sprinters work in the company’s own colours…

Eastern promise: While others wear the liveries of high-profile customers such as Anglian Water


Midlands Truck & Van invests £7 million to deliver first-class Mercedes-Benz service for the ‘second city’

Taking shape: Midlands Truck & Van’s new Birmingham base is due to open in October

Operators of Mercedes-Benz and FUSO commercial vehicles in and around Birmingham can look forward to an even higher level of service when Midlands Truck & Van opens for business at a new, state-of-the-art dealership in the city.

Work on the £7-million project began late last year, and the Dealer is on schedule to welcome the first customers to its new home in Smethwick in October. 

The Service department at its current base in Saltley opens at 6am each Monday and then remains so, round-the-clock, until 1pm on Saturdays. Once the new workshop is fully operational and nearing maximum throughput capacity, the business will review its shift patterns to establish the viability of a seven-day working week.

This potential extension to opening times, coupled with the fact that the new facility will be considerably bigger and better equipped than Saltley’s, means that Midlands Truck & Van is aiming to double the number of labour hours it sells each month.

As well as oversight of the final phase of construction and fitting out, the recruitment of additional technicians and parts specialists is therefore high on the agenda for Managing Director Steve Hunt and his Service Director Michael Carolan. 

The dealership is taking shape on the Cornwall Road Industrial Estate. Previously the site of a steelworks, and then a plastics factory, the seven-acre plot offers plenty of room for displaying new and pre-owned vehicles available for purchase, and for customers to manoeuvre and park their own trucks and vans.

Midlands Truck & Van will also be the first member of the manufacturer’s commercial vehicle network to introduce a new customer experience concept which is already in operation at a number of Mercedes-Benz car outlets. 

A far cry from the traditional truck and van dealership, the building’s open plan reception area has been designed and will be furnished in line with the latest Mercedes-Benz corporate standards. All visitors to the site will be greeted by dedicated hosts, then introduced to other members of the Midlands Truck & Van team with whom they will be able to discuss anything from a sales enquiry to a service booking in stylish, relaxed and comfortable surroundings.

The new building will also incorporate a Parts department which, at 650 square metres, represents a 25% increase on the shelf space currently available to the Dealer. As a result, Midlands Truck & Van will carry correspondingly wider and deeper stocks of the factory-approved spares it needs to keep vehicles on the road and earning for their owners.

The ‘beating heart’ of the development, though, will be the 1,580 square metre, drive-through workshop. Highlights for truck operators include an Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) at which inspectors from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will undertake annual MoT tests, an ADR bay allocated to work on fuel tankers and related specialist equipment for transporting hazardous loads, and another bay fitted with rollers for the installation and calibration of tachographs.

Meanwhile, Midlands Truck & Van’s own technicians will carry out MoT tests on light commercial vehicles in the Class 4, 5 and 7 categories, at times – night or day – best suited to customers. 

In addition to these dedicated workspaces, routine maintenance and repairs will be carried out in a further 11 truck bays – each, at 24 metres, comfortably long enough to accommodate an articulated tractor unit and semi-trailer combination – and eight van bays.

“This fantastic facility is going to have a phenomenal impact on our business,” declared Steve Hunt. “It took a long time to find the right location for this project and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues who’ve continued to deliver exemplary levels of customer service despite having to work in conditions that were less than ideal.

“I can guarantee their patience will be rewarded come October, as our new dealership will be right up there with the very best in the industry. Customers have also welcomed the substantial investment we’re making because it underscores this company’s commitment and determination to keep their businesses moving.”

Steve added: “Our Smethwick facility will provide a perfect platform from which we’ll be able to meet the ever-increasing demand for our aftersales support, and provide the class-leading levels of service that Mercedes-Benz truck and van customers are entitled to expect.” 

The opening of its new dealership will mark the completion of a major programme of investment in its branch network by Midlands Truck & Van, one of two Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle franchisees owned by Northern Ireland’s Ballyvesey Holdings Group.

Midlands Truck & Van recently spent £3 million on the acquisition and refurbishment of the former Mercedes-Benz car outlet in Whitley, Coventry. Its repurposing as one of the country’s biggest Mercedes-Benz van showrooms allowed the Dealer’s former commercial vehicle centre next door to become a truck-dedicated facility.

Midlands Truck & Van’s purpose-built branch, in Willenhall, Wolverhampton, is also still relatively new, having opened at the end of 2015 at a cost of £4 million.

Site visit: Midlands Truck & Van Managing Director Steve Hunt, left, and Service Director Michael Carolan are overseeing the company’s latest infrastructure project

Site visit: Midlands Truck & Van Managing Director Steve Hunt, left, and Service Director Michael Carolan are overseeing the company’s latest infrastructure project

Dorwingear strengthens its connections with Mercedes-Benz Vito and Midlands Truck & Van

Van selection has become an open and shut affair for Dorwingear – the door and window systems manufacturer chooses Mercedes-Benz, for its well-established attributes of reliability, driver appeal and top-quality aftersales support.

Now that built-in connectivity has also been added to the equation, though, the three-pointed star shines even more brightly for the Birmingham-based company.

Dorwingear operates a fleet of 22 vans, all but an older handful of which are by
Mercedes-Benz. The line-up includes 3.5-tonne Sprinters and a pair of small Citan models, but the mainstay of the fleet is the mid-sized Vito.

Latest to arrive via the city branch of Midlands Truck & Van are three Vito 114 CDI PURE models with long L2 bodies. Acquired with competitive funding support from
Mercedes-Benz Finance, they will be maintained by the Dealer under ServiceCare plans.

Like its last batch of Sprinters, the Vito vans came with ground-breaking 4G internet connectivity and the Mercedes PRO connect vehicle management package. A stand-out feature of the Sprinter and Vito ranges, Mercedes PRO connect provides operators with access to a wide range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management services.

By connecting companies with their vehicles, the system contributes to improved efficiency and productivity. It monitors everything from the van’s maintenance status to the driver’s style at the wheel, and even the amount of fuel in the tank, while also providing high-level navigation and communication services, and allowing fleet managers to control certain vehicle functions remotely.

Mercedes PRO connect also boosts security by incorporating a tracker, which can pinpoint a van’s exact location. A geofencing function alerts operators should their vehicles leave pre-defined areas.

“Mercedes PRO connect provides a welcome added level of anti-theft protection, but also includes a variety of very useful features to help businesses like ours work more safely and profitably,” enthused Dorwingear Director Craig Dollery.

“Its ability to monitor items like brake fluid levels and pad wear helps us to plan regular maintenance in advance more easily, while the tracking function means we can organise vehicle movements much more easily than before. It’s a really useful tool.”

Founded in 1974 by Mr Dollery’s father, Dorwingear is proud of the reputation for top-quality products and services it has built with customers over many years. Like so many others, the company postponed much of its work during the initial lockdown, to safeguard its workforce and ensure that urgent callouts to key customers including police and health services and train operators were unaffected.

“We quickly established alternative ways of working, taking account of social distancing and other safety restrictions,” said Mr Dollery. “This allowed us to bring people back in and take advantage of the ability to carry out works where sites were all but deserted.”

All Dorwingear’s vans are fitted with roof racks to carry ladders and other items, then allocated to mobile engineers who specialise in servicing automatic doors, access control systems, roller shutters, windows, traffic barriers and powered gates.

Mr Dollery continued: “We’ve tried other makes of vehicle in the past but since switching to Mercedes-Benz six years ago have enjoyed superior reliability and increased ‘uptime’ from our vehicles, while experiencing a high level of customer service from Midlands Truck & Van’s sales and workshop teams.

“Sales Executive Rob Lynock and his colleagues provide a far more attentive level of customer service than we’d received previously. The finance package is very competitive and the ServiceCare rates similarly attractive, while the Dealer’s workshop team do a great job of ensuring that our vans are always available for work when we need them.”

Dorwingear’s new Vito 114 CDIs are powered by economical 2.1-litre common rail turbodiesel engines which produce 140 hp and drive the rear wheels – other Vito variants are available with front-wheel drive.

In addition to the reassuring armoury of safety aids for which Mercedes-Benz vans are renowned, its drivers benefit from the vehicle’s standard-fit Active Parking Assist system, parking sensors and automatic headlights. Other features include a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift selector, a comfort driver’s seat, heated and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, and heat-insulating glass.

Driving efficiencies: Dorwingear’s Craig Dollery is impressed with his new vans’ multi-faceted Mercedes-Benz PRO connect technology


Falcon keeps firms on the move at HPC

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Hinkley Point C (HPC) continues to break records and hit milestones but it’s the businesses and people behind the scenes who are ensuring the project keeps moving on time and to schedule.

Take Falcon Vehicle Solutions, which has bases in Taunton and Bridgwater, as well as a modern workshop in Bridgwater.

The vehicle rental company has provided a wide range of vehicles on contract hire to a number of different local, national and international contractors who are working directly on site at HPC.

Clients include Somerset Larder, which uses LCVs and refrigerated HGVs, Windsor Catering, which uses 3.5t fridge vans and makes use of flexible fleet hire and Construgomes, a Portuguese sub-contractor which has used more than 10 vehicles for workers to use while working at HPC.

Tristan Savage, Managing Director of Falcon Vehicle Solutions, said: “Our flexible approach and wide-ranging fleet, allows contractors to scale up or down their fleet as required. The use of contract hire supports the core fleet of any contractor, with flexible hire being used to scale up during peak requirements.

“Our workshop and maintenance teams mean we can maintain all vehicles in Bridgwater or through our 24/7 breakdown service, both minimising vehicle downtime which is key to contractors working against deadlines.”

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Falcon Vehicle Solutions offers all HPC workers discounted rentals on self-drive car/van hire. The workshop provides maintenance support for any HPC contractor, with a focus to minimise downtime, using highly-skilled technicians and offering a special labour rate for HPC contractors.

The company registered with the Hinkley Supply Chain (HSC) and over the last 12 months has worked with the Somerset Chamber of Commerce-led team and received regular updates on key events and timelines at HPC.

“This allowed us to identify where we will fit best as a provider to contractors during the upcoming phases,” explained Mr Savage.

“From here I was introduced to Natalie Beacham from the supply chain team. Natalie came to visit our site to get a feel for what we could offer and I have now met with Natalie a regular occasions, getting briefed on HPC progress with ideas on how we can fit in and was given a key introduction to a large local business which I am hopeful will lead to a long-term relationship being built.

“I would highly recommend working with the HSC team; they are fully engaged in HPC and they understand the challenges and frustrations that local businesses have in accessing the market.

“They offer free, personal and friendly advice over a coffee, which can be invaluable and allow you to reset your thinking.”

Falcon Vehicle Solutions has been in business over 30 years and is continuing to grow, earning an enviable reputation as a comprehensive fleet provider. From humble beginnings, today the company operates a fleet in excess of 700 vehicles ranging from self-drive cars and vans through to a full range of HGVs and trailers.

The fleet is the most diverse rental fleet in the South West of England and can provide anything from a one-day Luton tail-lift van or a 17-seat minibus hire, to a seven-year contract hire on a bespoke fleet of HGV’s.

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Mr Savage added: “Falcon Vehicle Solutions currently has 32 full time employees who all have a focus on delivering exceptional service to our customers. We have a UK network of sub-contractors who, in partnership with ourselves, will provide dedicated service 24/7 to keep our clients’ vehicles moving.

“We operate a multi-brand fleet and work independently from OEMs giving us the freedom to offer choice and flexibility and listen to our clients’ views and opinions to provide a solution that will fit best to our customers’ requirements.”

More information is available online at